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UGC move to prohibit ODL mode in farming draws flak

UGC move to prohibit ODL mode in farming draws flak
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Highlights

The move, which comes on the heels of a directive by the Union Agriculture Ministry, attracts strong criticism

Hyderabad: The decision by the University Grants Commission (UGC) not to offer courses in agriculture through open and distance learning mode has come under strong criticism.

According to the UGC sources, the decision had been taken on the instruction of the Union Agriculture Ministry to prohibit distance degree programme in agriculture and allied subjects

The UGC said the agricultural degree programmes were technical in nature and required practicals and laboratory course.

Taking the nature of the course into consideration, the UGC included the agriculture within the meaning of the professional courses like medicine, engineering, nursing, dental, pharmacy, architecture and physiotherapy. Accordingly, under the UGC Open and Distance Learning Regulations, 2017, the Commission has notified agriculture as one of the professional programmes.

Following this, now questions are raised whether the ban is applicable to the courses being offered in the agriculture and allied subjects.

Speaking to The Hans India, a senior official from the Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU) said, the university is not in any way was affected by the UGC decision as the varsity is not offering any ODL courses.

However, there are other institutions offering courses like postgraduate diploma in Agri-Warehousing Management (PGWM), Agri Business Management (ABM), BBA and MBA covering several segments of the marketing and logistics relating to the agriculture.

For example: The National Institute of Agriculture Extension Management (MANAGE), Hyderabad, under the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has been offering a PGWM and ABM.

The institute has obtained its approval from the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). Further, the postgraduate diploma course being offered by the institute is recognised as equivalent to a postgraduate MBA degree, the officials added.

Similarly, another Hyderabad-based National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM), functioning under Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), is also offering courses like PG diploma in Agriculture Management and PG diploma in the management of technology in agriculture.

Most of these courses are catering to those who are taking interest in the field of agriculture, working professional who wanted to enhance their skills as well as to acquire new skills.

"Students of these courses are called for contact programmes to undergo practical's whenever a subject need for a training," said sources from the MANAGE.

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